A team of researchers from United College London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently had an interesting breakthrough. They were able to come up with a bendable graphene supercapacitor that charges at an extremely quick speed and securely stores high volumes of energy.
The new supercapacitor is definitely worthy of its name. It has a huge capacity to store a portable power supply for multiple practical applications like wearable electronics, smartphones, electric vehicles, and so on. This new discovery overtakes the challenge faced by most rapidly charging, high- powered supercapacitors.
Previously, supercapacitors weren’t capable of withholding huge amounts of energy in a small area. Dr.Zhuangnan Li, the first author of this study, explains. “Our new supercapacitor is extremely promising for next-generation energy storage technology as either a replacement for current battery technology, or for use alongside it, to provide the user with more power.”
This new design was developed by a team of physicists, engineers, and chemists. They used a unique graphene electrode material with pores that can be customized for storage of charge in a more efficient manner. They were able to enhance the energy density to highest ever reported level for carbon-based supercapacitors.
“We designed material, which would give our supercapacitor a high power density — that is how fast it can charge or discharge — and a high energy density, which will determine how long it can charge or discharge,” says Li. “It will determine how long it can run for. Normally, you can only have one of these characteristics but our supercapacitor provides both, which is a critical breakthrough.”
This supercapacitor can attain a maximum energy density of 88.1Wh/L (Watt-hour per litre). The typical fast-charging commercial technology has a comparatively lower poor energy density that ranges between 5-8 Wh/L. Even the electric vehicles with long-running lead-acid batteries have energy-density ranging between 50-90 Wh/L.
The supercapacitor has a relatively higher energy density. The electrodes were created with multiple graphene layers that are dense but porous in nature. These layers are capable of trapping charged ions. The best results were attained when pore sizes equalled the diameter of electrolyte ions. The supercapacitor measures 6cm x 6cm and is constituted by two identical electrodes layered with gel on either side.
Their team’s main job is to act as a chemical medium for transfer of electrical charge. When first used, it was able to light up dozens of LEDs at once. It was flexible, stable, and very robust. When bent at 180 degrees, its performance remained the same. Even after 5000 cycles, the device had 97.8% of its original efficiency.
“Over the next 30 years, the world of intelligent technology will accelerate, which will greatly change communication, transportation and our daily lives,” the senior author from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Feng Li, explains. “By making energy storage smarter, devices will become invisible to us by working automatically and interactively with appliances. Our smart cells are a great example of how the user experience might be improved and they show enormous potential as portable power supply in future applications.”
Filed Under: Components, News